September 28, 2023

Seaspircy is a documentary that premiered on March 24, 2021. It’s fresh to Netflix and has mixed reviews, not only from people who fish, but also from scientists, environmentalists, and participants in the documentary.

Viewers have been debating over the accuracy of the statistics and points made included in the documentary, which has been spread around massively since the premiere. 

A few of the points made in the documentary include:

  1. Oceans will be dried out of fish by 2048.
  2. 40% of catch gets thrown back as bycatch.
  3. 250,000 sea turtles are killed as a result of bycatch in the U.S.
  4. 46% of plastic in the ocean is a result of fishing nets.

The truth of these points is that:

  1. This point came from a paper written in 2006, which has since been disproven and retracted by the author. The fish population is actually increasing. Read the 2006 paper HERE. Read a follow-up about the paper HERE
  2. Only 10 per cent has been discarded at sea over the past decade, click HERE to read the research.
  3. 4,600 sea turtles are killed each year in the U.S. The former number is from a 17-year-old study.
  4. By weight, 46 per cent is netting, but what has sunk cannot be properly calculated. Click HERE to read the research paper.

People, however, did like that the documentary talked about the misuse of sustainable labelling and greenwashing. It’s common these days to see brands coming out with “compostable” packaging, and “biodegradable” packaging, but when looking into it, the federal government doesn’t actually have a legal definition on what can and can’t be labelled as biodegradable. Everything breaks down at some point, even if it’s millions of years from the initial purchase. 

Viewers also liked that the film opened up the discussion of issues around industrialized fishing and slave labour in the industry. The discussion helps people realize where their food is coming from and exactly all the work and abuse that’s put into it. 

At the same time, viewers did not like that the film displayed a strong white saviour mentality. As if people in the Global South needed to be saved. There were also large generalizations made, instead of focusing on the true facts, mentioned earlier. Viewers have noticed that the filmmakers have “cherry-picked” certain points to suit their narrative that all fishing is bad and causes harm to the planet and people’s health. 

If you’re looking to broaden your research about the fishing industry, listed below are some sources to look into.

If you’re looking to broaden your research about the fishing industry, listed below are some sources to look into.

  1. The Story of Platic 
  • Plastic pollution, a film
  1. Ghost Fleet
  • Human rights and trafficking issues, a film
  1. The End of Time
  • Seafood consumption features indigenous voices, a film
  1. The Outlaw Ocean
  • Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier, about human rights on the high seas, a book
  1. Ocean Recovery
  •  Sustainable future for global fisheries, a book
  1. Four Fish
  •  The four main fish we eat, history, and future of sustainable seafood, a book

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